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Chris Anderson SFMade lecture

Chris_Anderson_SFmade

KelliChristina and I went to a lecture this week by Chris Anderson, former editor-in-chief of Wired and co-founder and chairman of 3DRobotics, about the maker revolution. He reminded me of how we are very much in the middle of another industrial revolution (the last being the digital revolution), and that my 3d printed jewelry business is at the forefront of it, utilizing innovative manufacturing processes that empower the inventor and designer to be entrepreneurs. The lecture was held at TechShop, and sponsored by SFMade, a wonderful nonprofit benefiting small local manufacturers.

Speedo Clock

Last year, I designed this clock, cut out of acrylic with the laser cutter. It's comprised of shapes created by layering an image of a guy wearing a Speedo, and creates kind of an abstract, baroque form. I was really excited about the way it came together, and was looking forward to further experiments with patterns created from body shapes, and the way the clear acrylic interacts with light.

Unfortunately, the fumes from cutting plastic made me really sick, and I was out of commission for quite a while. This was a real disappointment, as I had lots of other acrylic projects in the hopper.

Recently, I changed direction with some new ideas, and started cutting some paperboard for another project. Unfortunately, the fumes from other people's projects (others cut plastics in the same facility) made me a little sick when I went in. I'm not really sure what to do next, as I work pretty iteratively, so mail order laser stuff seems like it wouldn't work as well for my projects.

Tap Plastics again

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I needed more plastic to practice gluing, so I stopped by Tap Plastics scrap bin. Though I haven't started gluing anything dimensional together yet, it seems like it will be difficult. The salespeople at Tap suggested using a jig; they actually build their own, and sold me this one. It seems there is a real art to gluing acrylic together. I also bought some silicone sealant, for possible future use. I left with a plastic contact high.

Laser cutting and gluing experiments

I have some project ideas that involve laser cutting and gluing pieces of acrylic; some of which would be like "laser marquetry." But I need to learn a few skills and methods before going forward with the projects. One thing I'm trying to learn is how to glue pieces of see-through acrylic to each other, so that they look neat, and don't have bubbles between them. My friend Marcia showed me how to use Weld-On 4 with a little dropper bottle to do this.

Trying it at home, my results are not as good. This is probably because I'm working on an extremely dusty slab of cement by our basement and the pieces are getting dirty as I work on them.

My first experiment involved trying to glue transparent red pieces of acrylic (star and hexagon) into the corresponding shapes that I cut out of a black piece of acrylic. I tried to confine the glue to just the edges, so the red acrylic would remain unmarred, but the Weld-On is kind of hard to control and watery. The results are really unattractive. Both pieces of acrylic are marred by the glue, and there are little gaps between the pieces of acrylic, which are made more an attractive by the globs of glue lodged in there. I don't think this method will work.

My second experiment involved gluing some interlocking acrylic shapes (and transparent red, milky white, and black) onto a thin piece of transparent acrylic. This method is more promising. The only problem is that there are still some bubbles between the pieces of acrylic – you can only see these on the red pieces because they're transparent. But I'm thinking that this method could work well if I was working in a less dusty environment

Clock Parts

I completed the cutting of the other clock components a couple weeks ago, and will assemble and photograph the clock shortly. This material is so luminous.